City of Vancouver website redesign – IA / content strategy at City Hall

Following the August 8, 2012 launch of the new City of Vancouver website, I joined the City of Vancouver Director of Web Redevelopment Laurie Best and Intentional Design’s Rahel Bailie to discuss the information architecture and content strategy behind the new site in a joint presentation on August 14 at City Hall.

Gordon Ross, OpenRoad


From the event promotion…

Early in August 2012, the City of Vancouver will unveil an entirely new vancouver.ca website. This is more than a website refresh – it’s a completely new website, built from the ground up with new technology and content strategies, to serve as the City of Vancouver’s user-centered presence on the web. What’s unique about the City’s new site is the way we got to the radical redesign of the site. Employing a user-centered design process combined with a comprehensive content strategy, the City embarked on a path that is known for maximum benefits for users with maximum efficiencies for internal processes.

How did a team of content strategists rework a 60,000-page municipal website to bring it down to a fraction of the size while increasing its effectiveness? Come and learn how we placed the focus completely on the user. Presentations by Gordon Ross of OpenRoad (UX research & design) and Rahel Anne Bailie (content strategy).

This session is a special cross-association event, bringing together user experience and content specialists. Be prepared to network with your peers from VanUE, the Content Strategy and Information Architecture meetup groups, HTCE, Third Tuesday, and Net Tuesdays.

The presentation was essentially a reprise of my World IA Day keynote that I gave in February 2012, which you can read/view on the OpenRoad website.

I was honoured to have the opportunity to discuss and share with my web development peers in Vancouver some of the design challenges Selma Zafar and I faced when you fundamentally rethink civic government’s information architecture, in search of a higher performing design pattern than the civic org-chart or resident/business/visitor. It was a great turn-out and great to see so many familiar faces.

In case you haven’t read them, Rahel has shared her perspective on some of the content strategy work on her blog with these two articles: Working on the City of Vancouver Website and Content Inventories, Audits, and Analyses: All part of benchmarking.

On a personal note, it’s been quite something to watch the perseverance and professionalism of Rahel Bailie over the past couple of years working with the City. It was one thing for us to perform the information design, it was another to re-write the site and bring it to life. Rahel and her team did a great job and I’m convinced that no-one else in Vancouver could have pulled off such a remarkable content-intensive project.

So bravo Rahel. You have much to be proud of and you’re leaving not just the team but the citizens of Vancouver with a great legacy.

Rahel Bailie, Intentional Design

Congrats of course to the City and its staff on a remarkable project – Laurie assembled a very talented team at the City that has managed to create a truly valuable civic resource.

I’m proud to have been a part of the project and am looking forward to watching the site evolve.